As the military searches for new ways to monitor soldiers' vital signs, one option is a tiny wireless patch that sticks to your neck.

The Wireless Sensor Integrated Conformal System, or "smart patch," is likened to a "super" FitBit.

According to Physical Optics Corporation, the patch is more accurate than commercial devices.

The patch is placed on one of the carotid arteries in the neck, where it can remain all day.

The device monitors and collects such data as heart rate, breathing and skin and core body temperature.

"It's a much less invasive way to collect body temperature," said Frank Willis, vice president of advanced technology at POC.

It has built-in Bluetooth that allows a soldier to send his or her vitals to a mobile device.

Willis said the patch can be used during a training exercise so the team leader can keep an eye on his or her troops. If the leader sees that a soldier is reaching his or her physical threshold during training, then the soldier can be removed before injury occurs.

In a combat situation, a medic can use the data provided by the patch to determine which service member needs the most immediate care.

In a post-op scenario, Willis said, a medic can monitor multiple soldiers at once by receiving data from the patches.

According to POC, thresholds can be set on a handheld device to alert the medic if a patient's health is deteriorating quickly.

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at

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